Another Christmas Memory

Another great Christmas day is almost done. Ma Bell’s flight arrived 30 minutes early. We had a wonderful dinner of grilled shrimp and prime rib. We enjoyed a night of playing Euchre (Tom and I lost). We have three very tired but happy dogs.

Life is good!

First Day Home

I got home from Edmonton, Alberta around 3:00AM this morning, new Leonberger puppy in tow. He was absolutely amazing on both flights, capturing the hearts of everyone who saw him and bringing smiles to the faces of weary travelers whose flights had been delayed.

His first encounter with Kisa and Larkin was cautious, but encouraging. By the end of the day, he was going out of his way trying to get them to play with him. Kisa’s not quite convinced yet, but Larkin managed to get up enough energy to spar for a minute or two.

His unofficial name is Dakota. No pictures of our own yet, but our breeder sent me a lovely shot taken on his last day in Canada.

Last Day in Canada

45 Hours And Counting

I’m going to meet our new Leonberger puppy for the first time on Sunday morning at 9:00AM. I can barely stand the excitement.

Kisa and Larkin spent the morning at the groomer’s so they’ll be all clean and pretty when they meet their new brother. Although asking Kisa to stay that way for two days is probably a little much considering we’re supposed to get 10 inches of fresh snow this afternoon.

With all the last minute planning too close to the holidays, the breeder wasn’t able to ship him via normal means, so I’m flying to Alberta to bring him home. This is after spending all week in Ontario and jumping on a 6:00AM flight to get out of Buffalo before the storm hits.

So I guess you could say I’m dog tired and dog happy all at the same time!

Cappuccino vs. Latte

I hate to sound like an idiot, but after making myself an evening “coffee drink”, I decided it was time to hit the Internet Ouija Board and figure out whether I made myself a cappuccino or latte. Turns out it was neither — I use proportions that are pleasing to me and that’s all that really counts, isn’t it.

But I was surprised by the number of people who are not only interested in this subject, but terribly confused by the definitions. From Coffee Geek:

Cappuccino: The undeniable classic and darling of the espresso world. It is the perfect example of milk and coffee done right. The cup itself should hold 5 to 7oz and no more. Sharing the space in the cup in one-third proportions is one shot of espresso, one-third steamed milk, topped by one-third foam.

Latte: This is a wildly popular drink in North America. Large quantity of milk, small quantity of coffee. Something the Italians might serve to their children.

If you just Google for cappuccino vs. latte, you’ll find numerous blogs where people don’t understand how you can make a drink of thirds in a 5-7 oz cup with a single shot and end up with a full cup of coffee.

So consider this: take a classic cappuccino cup (which is much smaller at the bottom than it is at the rim) and dump in a single shot. What you have is a cup that’s 1/3 full by height — not by volume. If that’s an inch of coffee, then add an inch of steamed milk and top it off with an inch of foam.

Makes perfect sense to me.

* Coffee Geek

A Leonberger for Christmas!

A few months ago, Tom and I signed up to be adopted by a Leonberger — our third — but there were birthing complications and the little guy didn’t make it. We were heartbroken, but resigned ourselves to just wait for the next litter.

A few hours ago, our breeder called to tell us that one of the other buyers had to back out and that there was a wonderful little puppy who would love to be spending his Christmas with us if we wanted him. What? Are you nuts? Just how fast can you get him here?

Any way… travel logistics are still in the works and we’re trying hard to come up with a really good “D” name — please cast a vote in the poll on the sidebar if you have any good ideas… but he’s absolutely beautiful no matter what we call him!

Christmas Puppy Christmas Puppy

LionHill Kennels
Leonberger Club of America

In Remembrance: Pearl Harbor

As I started this post, it was my intent to say thank you to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. After several false starts, I realized that the reason I was having such a hard time expressing my thoughts was because the words “thank you” feel so damned insignificant.

The muzzles of Arizona's 14-inch guns
Photo by Brett Seymour, NPS
… because to simply say “thank you” is not nearly enough.
… because to say “my thoughts and prayers are with your families is not enough”.
Stairs once leading below decks to officers' staterooms
Photo by Brett Seymour, NPS

A bowl and fork located in Arizona's galley area
Photo by Larry Murphy, NPS
… because the words “thank you” will be so easily forgotten before the sun next sets over Pearl Harbor.

Actions speak louder than words and in this case, truer words have never been spoken. As Americans, living our lives in a way that honors all of the brave men and women who gave their all for this country should be something we do without pause or question.

I pledge to always give my gratitude and undying support to all the men and women of the U.S. military who continue to serve, for they are the ones who most honor what you died for on that fateful Sunday morning. They are the ones who continue to carry the torch of freedom that passed down by those who went before them. They are the ones who will stand tall for everything that’s still good and right about this country, who will fight for what we believe in, who will give their own lives to make the world a better place — not just for Americans, but for all of God’s creatures who believe a free world is the only world worth living in.

Rest in peace, knowing that your beacon of hope still burns bright as ever in our hearts.

Sailors honor men killed during the
7 December 1941 Japanese attack
on Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Oahu

Time Line of Events
Casualty List
USS Arizona Preservation Project
USS Arizona Memorial
USS Utah Memorial

Happy Winter Solstice

I couldn’t believe it when Tom started his annual rant about Christmas being three weeks away and we have a lot of stuff we need to take care of. Where has the year vanished to? It’s bad enough that we’re both procrastinators, but this year’s a little worse with me making frequent trips to Burlington, Ontario for work.

Being a Native American, I’m sometimes reminded that the whole idea of Christmas as it is observed today is relatively recent history in North America. The picture we associate with the current day Santa Clause was born from the publication of A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clemaent Charles Moore — a poem first published in 1823 and more commonly known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Obviously, the Christian version of Christmas was introduced to Native Americans by the Europeans after their arrival in North American in the 1600’s.

What’s really interesting is that while Native Americans knew nothing of Christianity, they — like other non-Christian civilizations — had been celebrating the Winter Solstice which occurs between December 20 and December 23 — just a few days before what we now call Christmas Day. Apparently it was relatively easy to convince Native Americans to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25 because the story was very much in line with their spiritual beliefs about the Winter Solstice.

I also find it interesting that when referring to the Winter Solstice, some think of it as being the shortest day of the year while others concentrate on it being the longest night. The latter seems more appropriate to me, with the dark of night being a time for quiet reflection and anticipation. I think I now know why as an adult, I’ve always enjoyed Christmas Eve so much more than Christmas morning.

Enough rambling already. I’d like to be among the first to wish you a happy holiday however you choose to celebrate and a very Happy Winter Solstice.


How do Native Americans celebrate Christmas
Winter Solstice